India and U.S. Partner on $30 Million Smart Grid Effort

June 22, 2017 by Jeff Shepard

Washington State University will lead a nationwide consortium of U.S. universities and industry partners in a five-year, $30 million joint research project with India to advance the development of the power grid in both countries. The U.S. Department of Energy announced a $7.5 million grant to the U.S. team, which will be supplemented by $7.5 million from consortium members. The Indian Ministry of Science and Technology and industry partners will match the $15 million, bringing the total to $30 million.

“This new consortium demonstrates U.S. and Indian commitments to ensuring access to affordable and reliable energy in both countries,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry. “We know that continued grid innovation will promote economic growth and energy security in the United States and India.”

The initiative, supported by the DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, builds on the department’s efforts to foster the reliable, resilient, and secure delivery of electricity needed for U.S. national security, economic growth, and global leadership. The pact also furthers DOE’s collaboration with India under the U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE).

Noel Schulz, professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and WSU First Lady, is the principal investigator for the U.S. team. Anurag Srivastava, EECS associate professor, is the U.S. technical leader.

“WSU is excited to lead the U.S. team and collaborate with colleagues across this country and India to tackle the challenges of integrating renewables and storage for tomorrow’s distribution power systems,” Schulz said. “This project leverages the strengths of WSU’s Energy Systems Innovation Center and our power faculty and will provide national and international collaborations as we continue to advance our Drive to 25 to become one of the nation’s leading public research universities.”

The new consortium brings together experts from academia, DOE national laboratories, and industry in India and the U.S. to evolve and advance the future electric power distribution grid. The effort will allow the continuing increase and integration of distributed energy resources penetration, such as solar, wind, storage, and electric vehicles, advancing the goal of creating a carbon-free electricity system.

“WSU very much appreciates being selected for this award by DOE,” said Christopher Keane, vice president for research at WSU. “The award is a testament to the hard work and collaborative spirit of the WSU faculty and staff involved in grid research. The U.S.-India partnership will result in numerous important advances that support the power grid of the future.”

The project will allow experts to conduct research and deploy new smart grid and energy storage technologies that will modernize the grids of both nations to make them “smarter,” while increasing resilience and reliability.

The U.S. team will contribute its expertise and capabilities as India expands energy access to its remote areas, improves its grid reliability and resilience, and strengthens its energy security. In turn, U.S. participants will gain insight from India’s grid modernization efforts — a potential export market for U.S. equipment worth billions of dollars — as well as promote the access of researchers to India’s grid operational experience.

In addition to WSU, the U.S. team includes MIT, Texas A&M, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Snohomish County Public Utility District, Everett, Wash., AVISTA Utilities, Spokane, Wash., Burns and McDonnell, ETAP, Operation Technology Inc., National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, GE Grid Solutions, Seattle, Clean Energy Storage, Inc., ABB Inc., and Philadelphia Navy Yard.

The Indian team is led by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur and includes Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Indian Institute of Technology Bhubaneswar, The Energy and Resources Institute, NTPC Energy Technology Alliance, BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, UP Power Corporation Limited, Power Grid Corporation of India, Customized Energy Solution, Pune, GE Global Research, Bengaluru, Synergy Systems and Solutions, Gurgaon, Mindteck, Bengaluru, and Panasonic India.

The research effort is in keeping with WSU’s Grand Challenges, a suite of research initiatives aimed at large societal issues. It is particularly relevant to the challenge of meeting energy needs while protecting the environment.